Noguchi Rika’s show The Sun at D’Amelio Terras drew me in because of its presentation. As you can see from my installation photo above, the photographs are the only bright objects in an otherwise almost pitch-black room. While this sounds like a lousy idea for a lot of photography, in this particular case it works very well (especially once you’re beyond the “What the Hell is that?”, arriving at “Hey, this is kinda cool”). The lighting is done quite smartly.
But what about the actual photographs? Well, they are pinhole photos of the Sun. Maybe a better way to explain them is to say that the camera was pointed towards the Sun, so there are lots of other (mostly blurry) things in the photographs. I don’t think I’d like them in a setting other than the gallery one, and that might be the biggest problem of the show: Unless you have a dark room at home, where you can illuminate one of these photos with a spot, you’re not going to enjoy them anywhere else.
I guess my problem with these photographs is that I think they pretend to express more than they actually do, while relying a tad too much on the supposedly “primitive” (to quote the gallery’s PR page) camera. Of course, it’s entirely possible that my background as an astronomer is getting in the way of me appreciating these photographs: In Astronomy 101, I could hardly wait to leave behind the Sun and all the boring planets and instead learn about galaxies (which, alas, are composed of stars, so I ended up specializing in Dark Matter) and the Universe as a whole. Or maybe I’m just grumpy having not seen all that much of that Sun this year, what with April extending all the way into June now.
But all in all, beyond the presentation the photography didn’t make much of an impression on me. The other day, I talked with a friend of mine about photography, and he said what he expected of photography was: “Tell me something I don’t know.” I didn’t think this show was doing that.